TAMPA, Fla. — Week 13 couldn't have come at a better time for the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay (7-5) has lost three of its last four, and the focus has shifted from winning the NFC South division to securing a wild card spot in the playoffs.
Week 13 is considered late in terms of getting a Sunday off, but the Bucs players thought it was the perfect time to relax and recharge. They said they couldn't really do anything except go to practice and go home, but it was a welcome break.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said it was nice to be around his teammates, but they still had to be focused on things like being on time for their coronavirus tests.
"Don’t let the COVID-19, the disease, be an additional problem for us in this season," Suh said, via video chat. "We deal with enough adversity. Don’t allow [it to affect] this one thing that we actually can control — for the most part — by doing the right things."
Head coach Bruce Arians said his team was tired after the week 12 loss to the Chiefs, but the team thinks they're at full speed for the home stretch.
"We’re not tired no more," running back Ronald Jones said, with a chuckle.
Jones, whose 820 rushing yards rank fourth in the NFL, has kept his spot as the team's #1 running back even after the Bucs added four backs in the offseason.
"As a player, all you can do is ask for that opportunity. They’ve given it to me. I just have to make the most with it," Jones said. "Take it and run with it, literally. So that’s what I’ve been doing."
More than 50 Bucs players and staff members will be wearing special shoes this weekend for the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" initiative.
To check out the full slate of Bucs' shoes check out buccaneers.com/MyCauseMyCleats.
The Buccaneers host the Vikings at 1 p.m. on Sunday.